Taylor-made wins for Fred

Jan 8, 2002 4:44 AM

Ohio State should play at a high emotional level for the next few games, following the death of legendary coach Fred Taylor.

Bob Knight played for Coach Taylor at Ohio State when the Buckeyes won the national title in 1960. So did NBA standouts Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek.

Taylor led Ohio State to seven Big Ten titles in his 18 seasons in Columbus, and two other national championship appearances (1961 and 1962).

Ohio State named a room in its new arena after Taylor, who passed away Sunday at age 77.

You can bet the Ohio State players will dedicate their season to one of the great coaches in the sport. At least for the next week or two, bettors may want to add the emotional factor in checking Ohio State’s schedule. The Buckeyes possess a 10-2 SU and 5-3 ATS mark with games Wednesday at UMass and Saturday in Evanston against Northwestern.

Taylor was 297-158 at OSU.

Even Duke fell

Last week was a nightmare for bettors who like playing the favorites. All four unbeaten teams fell, including mighty Duke.

The Blue Devils lost to, of all teams, Florida State by one point Sunday in Tallahassee. The win doesn’t make up for not winning the national championship in football, but it will sure ease the hurt in Seminole land.

Jason Williams, the nation’s top player, went 0-for-6 from the foul line, including two misses in the final seconds that allowed FSU to win the game with a last-second driving layup. Duke wasn’t the only casualty. The ESPN/USA Today poll was shelled, with 14 of last week’s top 25 teams losing at least once.

You don’t suppose the fact conference season began last week contributed to the upsets?

No doubt it did, and count on more coming this week.

Pitt badder than Brad

Want a sleeper in the Big East? Look at Pitt.

The Panthers started the week 14-1 SU and 2-0 in the Big East. Pittsburgh comes off a 77-74 win at Boston College, which saw its 25-game homecourt win streak end.